Doctors and nurses to get fast-track entry to UK under new immigration system - TELEGRAPH UK
Priti Patel said the Health and Care visa will make it 'quicker for talented global health professionals to work in our brilliant NHS'
Doctors and nurses from overseas will be eligible for fast-track entry to the UK and exempt from paying an NHS health surcharge under a new visa scheme set out by the Home Office on Monday.
Under the new Health and Care visa, those eligible will also pay less in application fees and will be able to access “dedicated support” in filling out their forms.
The exemptions will also apply to their families and dependents, according to the written ministerial statement.
The list of professions eligible include doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers, although the document acknowledges that this will be expanded in the near future.
However, in a move likely to provoke a backlash among some MPs, Downing Street confirmed that social care workers would not be able to take advantage of the new NHS visa.
Speaking to reporters this morning, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We want employers to invest more in training and development for care workers in this country.
"On care workers specifically, our independent migration advisers have said that immigration is not the sole answer here, which is why we have provided councils with an additional £1.5 billion of funding for social care in 2021/22, as well as launching a new recruitment campaign."
Existing European Union workers in the care sector could apply to stay in the UK through the settlement scheme "and a very large number have done so", he added.
The visa will form part of the “Skilled Worker” route in the post-Brexit points-based immigration system, which will require EU and non-EU migrants to gain 70 points to be allowed to come to the UK.
Fifty of those points have to be gained by having a job offer from an approved employer, speaking English and from the prospective job being at the skill level of A-level or above.
The remaining 20 points can come from a variety of categories, where skills or qualifications can be "traded" for points to meet the required 70.
Jobs in key sectors like the NHS and social care, designated by the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), will also entitle applicants to a further “tradeable” 20 points.